Tout Wars – Battle of the So-Called Experts

Tout Wars – Battle of the Experts

Tout Wars is big this year, in large part because of Sam Walker’s book Fantasyland. Sam’s outsider caricatures of his Tout Wars opponents seemed to ruffle some feathers, but these birds all liked the attention, which is why the draft was held in a conference room at a Times Square hotel, a huge step away from the year we drafted in Steve Moyer’s baseball shrine of a basement in Pennsylvania.
I drafted in the NL section Sunday, along with reps from Creative Sports, Mock Draft Central, Wise Guy Baseball, TQ Stats, Ultimate Fantasy Sports, Roto Junkie, RotoTimes, FantasyGuru, RotoWorld, BaseballHQ, Rotowire, and

The only interesting thing that happened, as far as I’m concerned, is that I spent $11 on Colorado minor league DL candidate Ryan Shealy. This was one of those auction moments. I blame the NL. It’s really a sucky league. I kept not bidding on such talents as Jose Cruz and Jacque Jones beyond their projected value because, well, I really didn’t want those guys.

But there is such pervasive mediocrity in the NL that once you get beyond the top couple of stars at each position, it’s a wide sargasso sea of interchangeable pieces, some of whom are bound to pay off—but how can you tell?

You can’t. The teams that went Stars and Scrubs have an advantage, I think.

You can follow the link to see what we did. But back to Shealy. At the moment Shealy was nominated (by me) Lombardo, Zaleski and I had far more money than any of the other teams, and there wasn’t much talent left. I decided that Shealy, even if he only played a few months, was by far the most differentiated and valuable player. So, I went and got him. I was appalled that Lombardo kept raising me, but at that point in the draft it seemed like the time to commit, or end up with money at the end.
I subsequently got all the players I targetted, so from a strategic point of view I did the right thing. But I’m not sure my judgment that Shealy was the guy I wanted/needed was sound.

Auction is a great way to play this game because it opens up all these various pathways to success and failure. I look at the teams and I think the teams that went Stars and Scrubs (notably John Hoyos’s RotoJunkie squad and Jason Pliml’s Mock Draft Central) did best. That’s because the NL is so devoid of talent.

But if Shealy’s shoulder heals and he gets 350 AB in the OF, or if Helton’s back crumbles and he gets plenty of AB at 1B, I’m not surrendering.

(This story is a warning that expert league drafts are good fun to follow, and may give you an idea of what might happen in your league, but the exigencies of the situation are way more important than anything as pedestrian as projected values. Which is how Hector Luna ended up going for $8. But that’s the same story, just a different verse.)